Small Business Marketing Book Review – People and Your Business

What if somebody told you one critical key to business success was to practice the principle of the Golden Rule in your business? The idea seems to somehow run counter to so much of what we’ve been taught about business, doesn’t it? Yet, what if that same source convinced you through case-study after case-study that application of the Golden Rule in business actually leads to success?

Let us introduce Frederick Reichheld and his book The Loyalty Effect. While not a small business marketer, but rather an expert business consultant, what Reichheld teaches us about loyalty is worthwhile reading for any small business owner or manager.

Did we say “worthwhile”? Scratch that; pencil in the phrase “urgently essential”, instead. This book is that vital to a small company.

The Loyalty Effect focuses on three groups of people critical to business success: Customers, Employees, and Investors. For most small business, the investor is the owner, so for our brief review in this article we will focus on Customers and Employees.

Reichheld is a definite advocate of customer retention. He convincingly demonstrates time and again that small percentage increases in customer retention have huge impacts on profits. This read will be a just-right fit for those of you having problems focusing on the right customers. If you will take the time to trudge through this book, and really understand most of its principles (we found Chapter 8 to be the toughest) then not only will the marketing of your business improve, but so will your profits.

Isn’t that the reason for all this focus on marketing, anyway?

And Reichheld really opened our eyes to how important employees are in retaining customers. If a company treats their employees right, those employees become more efficient and productive in their daily tasks. Profits go up, retention increases.

Reichheld stresses again and again that a company’s prime mission needs to be creating customer value. Most of you in small business realize this, but it’s reaffirming to see hard-and-fast facts to back up what many of us intuitively know. Customers don’t come to a small business looking to boost our profits; they arrive seeking value. If we consistently create value, profit will come.

Another key point for small business owners is the importance of leadership. If you need to go down to the bookstore and browse through The Loyalty Effect before you buy it, flip over to page 246. Reichheld has studied several large and successful businesses, and concludes here that most of them had leaders with an “intuitive grasp” of how important loyalty is. This is critical for business success, regardless of business size. While not written to be a rah-rah inspirational book, Reichheld’s arguments and his examination of the role strong leaders play in forming great companies reinforces just how important to the bottom line it is for a small business owner to be a good leader.

So much of Reichheld’s book seemed familiar; akin to common sense…after we read it. Treat employees well and they’ll perform well for you; we’ll that’s pretty basic, now isn’t it? But we tend to forget, we tend to think we need to cut corners or just “improve efficiency” and that’ll lead to greater profits. In the short term it very well may, but Reichheld argues effectively that in the long run it’s only by creating value for our customer that we build profitable businesses.

Remember, People is the third element–along with Brand and Package–of any small business marketing success story. Taking a week or so and reading Frederick Reichheld over lunch or before lights out at night is a great way to hone your “people productivity”.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

How to Perform a Business Bank Account Comparison

With all the financial institutions in the world clamoring for more and more business, hype is at an all-time high in the financial district. Terms and conditions that are applicable to certain trial dates can lead to confusion once these “free trials” end and can leave the business owner feeling used and defeated with an account that no longer suits their needs. Fortunately, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that your company gets the account it needs by performing a bank account comparison.

Company Size and Business Account Options

The business checking options will vary depending upon the size of your own. Incentives that hook small businesses aren’t necessarily applicable to big corporations and vice versa. Each size of business requires a different set of account options in order to optimize financial support and services.

Small businesses tend to make fewer transactions than larger corporations and therefore greatly benefit from a preset limit of free transactions. Typically with this type of package, once the preset limit is reached, a small fee is charged to each applicable transaction thereafter. Some business accounts even offer an interest earning option that is beneficial to businesses with low to moderate transaction volume. Conversely, larger businesses require a moderate to high number of transactions and usually pay a small monthly fee to allow for this difference.

Minimum Balances

Small business accounts tend to forgo monthly minimum balances but usually sacrifice interest earnings for this advantage. Moderately sized businesses usually have accounts that require a minimum daily balance or a monthly averaged balance that exceeds a predetermined limit. Minimum balances for larger businesses tend to be slightly more complicated; these can be determined by an average daily balance, average combined deposit balance, or average combined deposit balances and outstanding credit balances. The specific amounts are different for each institution, be sure to contact individual banks for detailed information.

Maintenance Fees

Many business owners neglect to factor in maintenance fees when performing a bank account comparison. This usually isn’t a big deal for a small business account since most do not have a monthly maintenance fee. However, moderately sized and larger businesses must take these fees into consideration when comparing business accounts. Nowadays, most financial institutions only charge maintenance fees if the balance falls below a predetermined minimum limit. Once again, the amounts of these fees vary by institution so be sure get an accurate number when comparison shopping for an accounts.

Business Type

Even though you may own a certain sized business, not all accounts suggested for that sized company will suit your needs. Some business accounts are geared toward non-profit organizations, community groups, and public agencies while others lean more toward small or growing businesses. Research and investigate each business account you consider to determine the right business checking account for your company.

Business bank account comparisons can be confusing and daunting chores; however, if you take into account your business size and style with business account options you desire, it should be a relatively easy task to choose a business account that will carry your company well into financial security.

Some Resources For Finding a Business Broker

Before we talk about resources for finding a business broker, let us first understand who is a business broker. Business broker resembles very much to the real estate agent. The job of the business broker is to bridge the gap between the buyer of the business and the seller of the business. If you wisely choose the right business broker, you can save a lot of money in the business transactions taking place through him. Here are some resources for finding a business broker for you.

Ask the People Whom You Already Know For Referrals:
Whenever we look for something that is new to us and we are not familiar with it, we try to gather information from the people we already know, and have faith in them that they would not misguide us. Same procedure we can apply when we look for the resources for finding a business broker. Take the advice of your business associates, accountants, lawyer and other associations of the industry to get the names of business brokers. If a reliable person gives the reference of any business broker then there is no harm in considering him for hiring his services.

IBBA:
Another very good resource for finding a business broker is the International Business Brokers Association or IBBA. This is an institute of business brokers working on non-profit basis. There are approximately one thousand three hundred members of this association.

Go Through the Advertisements in Newspapers:
One very good resource for finding a business broker is newspaper. Look for the advertisements under the business opportunities. You should check local, regional and national all types of newspapers for this purpose. You will observe several businesses for sell in these advertisements. Although, these advertisements are intended to attract prospective buyers yet you can check them to find out the names of the people who are managing these deals.

Yellow Pages:
Another resource for finding a business broker is to look in the yellow pages. However, do not get confused with the real estate agents and look specifically for the brokers who have experience in the selling of businesses. Any broker who just lists the name of your business on the multiple listing services is of no use to you. These kinds of brokers do not give required time to make such business deals.

Sign an Agreement After You Have Selected the Business Broker:
After your search for finding a business broker ends and you succeed in finding the right business broker, sign an agreement with him. State clearly in the agreement that what type of marketing strategy the business broker will adopt to sell your business. Do not forget to mention that any such advertisement must not carry the name of your business.

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